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J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2013 Mar;27(1):62-70. doi: 10.3109/15360288.2012.751956. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Effect of opioid-related adverse events on outcomes in selected surgical patients.

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Department of Pharmacotherapy, Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.



This retrospective study utilized a large, national hospital database to assess the impact of opioid-related adverse events (ORADE) on patient outcomes following selected surgical procedures known to require postoperative pain control.


Outcomes of patients with administratively documented ORADE were compared to those without. Multivariate regression determined differences in hospital costs; length of stay (LOS); odds of individuals being an outlier in total cost and LOS; and having a 30-day all-cause readmission.


Among 319,898 surgeries of interest, 12.2% of patients experienced an ORADE. Patients had higher adjusted mean costs ($22,077 [95% CI 21,823-22,333] vs. $17,370 [95% CI 17,238-17,503]; p < 0.0001) and greater LOS (7.6 [95% CI 7.5-7.6] vs. 4.2 days [95% CI 4.2-4.2]; p <0.0001). Adjusted odds of being a total cost and LOS outlier were 2.8 (95% CI 2.7-2.8) and 3.2 (95% CI 3.1-3.3) times greater in the ORADE group. These patients were more likely to be readmitted (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.09).


Patients exhibiting a documented ORADE had greater overall costs, longer hospitalizations, and increased likelihood for readmission. These results highlight the economic impact associated with opioid use for postsurgical pain management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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